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Last updated: 04 Nov, 2017  

69 pc People have No Financial Preparedness to Deal with Cancer

Business Wire India | 03 Nov, 2017
Future Generali India Life Insurance (FGLI), unveiled the findings of a national ‘Cancer Financial Preparedness Survey’ conducted in association with IPSOS, a leading global research firm. This unique and multidimensional study surveyed two different groups (1) People in the 25 & above age bracket across 11 major cities, and (2) 40 seasoned oncologists across key metro cities The objective of the research was to evaluate the awareness levels, the financial preparedness and gap between perception & reality of financial implications of cancer.   
Lack of sufficient cancer awareness 
The results of Future Generali’s ‘Cancer Financial Preparedness Survey’ brought to light inadequate awareness levels amongst the respondents with regards to incidences, stages, types and cost of treatment of cancer. The same is evident from the findings below:  
  • Incidence: More than half (56%) of respondents were unaware about the incidence of cancer within their family and friends circle. This is alarming, given that oncologists’ also opine that 3 in every 10 Indians are likely to contract the disease by 2020. The survey revealed that 65.7% (2 out of 3) cancer patients were detected in the 3rd or 4th stage 
  • Stages: 42% of respondents perceived themselves to be ‘somewhat’ in the know of the various stages of cancer whereas 28% of respondents thought they were ‘completely aware’. In contrast, the oncologists’ survey revealed that only about 7% of patients hold ‘complete awareness’ of the different stages of cancer, while 30% possess a ‘reasonable understanding’ of the same
  • Types: All respondents claimed to know about the different types of cancer (breast cancer and lung cancer featured high on the awareness radar at 45% and 36% respectively) whereas oncologists revealed that only 1/4th of the people who visited them knew about the different types of cancer
  • Cost of treatment: A majority of respondents estimated that the average cost of cancer treatment was INR 3.9 Lakhs. Oncologists disclosed the average cost of treatment to be upwards of INR 5 Lakhs depending on the type of cancer and stage of detection
  • Additionally, the oncologists opined that  a mere one fourth of the patients had  any significant knowledge of the  symptoms of cancer 
Extremely poor financial preparedness for the treatment of cancer
Cancer treatment can vary depending on the type, stage and other health factors. The cost of treatment therefore, can also vary between 5 lakh to 20 lakh or more. In a breakthrough finding, the survey also highlighted significant dependence on the doctor for financial advice as patients inadvertently look up to them for assistance in dealing with the cost of medical treatment. Likewise, the survey revealed that a majority of respondents aren’t financially equipped to deal with cancer. More and more people fail to realize the importance of financial preparedness to deal with such an exigency in life which is obvious from the survey results below: 
  • An alarming 69% of the respondents have no financial aid whatsoever at their disposal to deal with cancer
  • A scarce 21% of respondents have a specific ‘cancer’ insurance cover to facilitate their medical expenses, as per oncologists
  • 26% of the respondents would resort to taking a loan to bear the cost of the treatment
  • 31% of the respondents have not even deliberated on the need of a financial plan to fight cancer
  • Almost 63% of cancer patients admitted to having sought their oncologist’s advice to fund the cost of treatment and consequent expenses
Great divide in perception and reality of customer’s understanding of the financial implications of cancer 
Future Generali’s Cancer Financial Preparedness Survey also put into perspective the gap in perception and reality of the financial implications of this disease. Barring the cost of cancer treatment, most fail to take into consideration the additional monetary burden that ensues. The survey shows that the respondents were largely oblivious to the sustained financial challenges patients and their families may face in terms of loss of income, reduced earning capacity, cost of follow up treatment etc. thus plunging the family deeper into crisis. 
Mr. Munish Sharda, CEO and MD, Future Generali India Life Insurance asserts that, “We commissioned this research to bring forth awareness of Cancer in the country and gauge people’s preparedness to secure themselves financially against this dreaded disease. As an insurer, we believe we have an important role to play in addressing these two pressing issues of awareness and preparedness by reaching out to the consumers and offering them simple products at affordable cost, supported by a very convenient buying process. Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan is a comprehensive cancer insurance designed with the principles of simplicity, convenience and speed. It also provides an income option to customers for taking care of post treatment financial requirements.” 
Appreciating FGLI’s efforts, Dr. Sandeep Goyle, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, who was a guest panelist at the event commented that, “Right diagnosis can determine the cost of treatment for cancer. The survey highlights that there is a clear need to create awareness on overall treatment and early detection. Patients need to be able to understand that right diagnosis will help curtail the cost of treatment and add to their overall quality of life.”  
Yashish Dhaiya, Founder and CEO, Policy Bazaar – India’s largest Online distributor of Insurance who was also a guest panelist at the event said, “Let’s face it – cancer is a modern day reality and its treatment is expensive. It can easily leave any family not only emotionally vulnerable, but also financially distressed. With no social security net existing in India, we believe that disease specific products like cancer insurance become essential covers to buy for people here. It is a noble act by insurers who are launching these products and creating awareness around them. It is commendable that FGLI has come up and launched an excellent product in this category. Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan is the most economical, and also the simplest cancer insurance plan to be made available in the market today.” 
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